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2020 Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)

The ® 3MT is an academic speaking competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. The Three Minute Thesis challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes. 

The dust has finally settled on the Durham Three Minute Thesis (® 3MT) competition for 2020 and what a journey it has been. We are finally able to announce a Durham winner of the 3MT competition.  

Winner: Laura Erel – Can we hear musical syntax?

Runner up: Vincent Brooks – Quantum LEGO: Building molecules, one atom at a time.

Runner up: Ying Yee – Computer-generated works and related copyright issues

Voting in the final was incredibly close with only a few points separating the contestants. It goes without saying that the competition this year has not been a smooth journey, but we managed to work around the restrictions put in place and complete the process virtually. Many thanks once again to all the contestants and the judges who helped to make this a great event.  

The 3MT competition does not stop there, however. Our final three are invited to represent Durham in the regional competition which is a virtual live event hosted by the University of Sunderland and our finalist Laura will be put forward as our entrant to the national Vitae competition. 

Our finalists found the 3MT a rewarding and positive experience, and both Vincent and Laura thought that one of the competition’s benefits was that it forces the presenter to find ways of communicating, often complex research, in language that a non-specialist audience can understand. As Vincent puts it …

” well now I know how to explain my quantum physics research to my grandparents! “ 

I asked Laura what competing in the 3MT meant for her research …

“3MT encouraged me to crystallise my research, allowing me to see what’s really important and ground-breaking about it whilst presenting my work in an accessible manner.” 

From a personal point of view, working with the 3MT competitors has been an exceptionally rewarding experience, helping the students hone their presentations to competition standard. I’m almost ready for 3MT 2021.